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Development Authority approves project financing

Tax-free funding to help create hundreds of jobs locally

POSTED: October 25, 2013 12:11 a.m.

The Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority approved tax-free financing Thursday for projects that are expected to create hundreds of jobs locally.

Most of the agenda items had to with King’s Hawaiian Bakery Southeast Inc.’s recently announced expansion in Oakwood. King’s Hawaiian is planning to add three production lines and construct a new 120,000-square-foot building next to its existing facility in the next couple of years. The increased production is expected to require 400 more workers, mostly in manufacturing, but some managerial positions as well.

“We’re actually able to penetrate the whole Eastern Mississippi region much better by being positioned here in Georgia,” said Steven Richards, chief financial officer for King’s Hawaiian Holding Co. Inc., based in Torrance, Calif.

The development authority approved up to $6 million helping the company refinance the existing building and adding a production line to start operating around June 2014 and a second line around September. The third line is expected to come online in 2015. Authority members also approved up to $7 million for new building construction and up to $85 million to finance equipment for the bakery facilities.

“What we do now in our facility is just produce our rolls,” Richards said. “In the future expansion, the new building, we’ll add another roll line, effectively tripling our production capacity for what we currently have, and allow us to source the whole range of our products through largely the East Coast and the South market, which is currently being supplied by our Los Angeles facilities.”

Authority Chairman Philip Wilheit said it was hard to believe this wasn’t a public company.

“It’s an impressive company, to say the least,” he said.

In other business, The authority also approved financing for American Yazaki Corp. and IMS Gear Inc.

American Yazaki, which started production in Gainesville, is an environmentally friendly fuel tank manufacturer and has 25 employees at its Gainesville headquarters. American Yazaki is part of Yazaki Corp., based in Japan.

The company made a $15 million investment in a new production line to supply parts to Honda Power Equipment, which has increased its demand for fuel tanks, said Terry Merck, Gainesville plant manager. It also manufactures tanks for Yamaha Motor Co. The company will also add a new business line from customer Ricoh, making ink canisters for copy machines and large printers in 2014.

The Honda line will create five jobs, and the canister line will create three positions, Merck said.

The authority approved up to $21 million in financing in industrial revenue bonds for the company.

IMS Gear, an automotive parts manufacturer based in Germany, was approved for an inducement resolution for $40 million in bonds early last year, but didn’t actually issue the bonds because the project has evolved. The authority approved an amendment to that resolution. Inducement resolutions are measures the authority can approve to help a company with financing or incentives to encourage it to build or expand in Hall County.

Tim Corbin, financial director, said the company manufactures plastic and metal gears and established a plant in the Gainesville Industrial Park South in 1995. It has three new projects planned, including a push-button park brake, a planetary gearbox and a backdoor latch. The company expects to create 40 new jobs next year and 80 by 2015.


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